For the first time in the history of India’s Republic Day, women empowerment in the armed forces was showcased as an all-women contingent from the three forces — Army, Air Force and Navy — marched down the majestic Rajpath.

While women officers have been participating in previous Republic Day parades, this was for the first time that an all-women contingent of the armed forces participated.
While the Army contingent was led by Capt Divya Ajith, the Navy was led by Lt Commander Sandhya Chauhan. The Air Force contingent was led by Squadron Leader Sneha Shekhawat. The contingents had 148 personnel each drawn from the Army, Air Force and the Navy.

“We believe we are equal and second to none. We have already marched for the first time on the Army Day and now another first would be the Republic Day parade. So, yes, we do wish to be in the combat force,” Capt Ajith, who is with the Corps of Army Air Defence, had said recently.

Currently, the army does not have women in combat roles. Capt Ajith graduated from the prestigious Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai in 2010. She created history by becoming the first woman in the army to receive the coveted Sword of Honour, which is awarded to the best cadet of a course.


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